The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity for leaders to think differently about how they manage their talent. With a slowing economy, restricted capital budgets, distributed workforces, and local reopening guidelines that continue to change, leaders are faced with a set of challenges clearly different from those they were tackling up until March.
Businesses are taking a new look at how they go to market, how they interact with their global customer base, and how to maintain competitive positioning. They are also seeking ways to maintain and protect their financial health. In some cases, this may mean closing locations, furloughing employees, and/or changing the traditional ways of doing business.
Implications for the existing workforce
In ‘normal’ times, a thoughtful talent management plan enables leaders to implement solutions that balance the needs of their employees while meeting dynamic business goals and objectives. To position their organizations for success post COVID-19, leaders must take an all-encompassing view of the wide range of complex, intertwined implications for their current staff.
There are at least three scenarios to consider while planning: 1) current COVID-19 circumstances, 2) initiation of workforce re-entry, and 3) what future operations look like once business begins to stabilize. As organizations start to implement their new strategies, talent management leaders will be mindful of the nuances and requirements of each scenario.
The Thought Logic approach to talent management planning in the COVID-19 era
At Thought Logic, we have a four-dimensional framework to help leaders meet their employees where they are while prioritizing new and changing business goals. These dimensions are: 1) Sizing and Skilling Talent, 2) Capturing Hearts & Minds, 3) Defining Success/Goals, and 4) Managing in a New Way. Following are just a few of the questions we encourage leaders to consider as they build their talent management plans.
- Sizing & Skilling Talent – Based on the financial situation of the company and the need to refocus business priorities, leaders need to ensure they have the right number of resources with the right talent and skill sets. Questions to consider:
- How many resources are needed to support the company’s refined priorities?
- Does the company plan to reinstate all furloughed employees?
- What (new) skillsets are needed?
- What budget implications need to be considered when redefining the talent pipeline?
- How will roles be sourced?
- What new process will be developed to reassess and source talent over time?
- Where will people work?
- Is the company planning to consolidate real estate?
- Capturing Hearts & Minds – Given the company journey throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many leaders will need to regain employee confidence and trust. Questions to consider:
- What is the current mindset of employees?
- How is trust in leadership being assessed and monitored?
- What precautions are being taken to ensure the health and safety of employees?
- What communications and engagement channels are currently available?
- What platforms can managers and leaders create to sustain inclusion and morale?
- (Re)Defining Success/Goals – With changes in the pace and the goals of the business, leaders need to clearly communicate organizational, team and individual success factors and performance measures. Questions to consider:
- How do leaders communicate changes in a company’s priorities?
- How do changes in the company’s priorities impact team and individual goals?
- What is the impact of changing business objectives to the performance management process?
- Are managers equipped to implement new processes?
- Managing in a New Way – With COVID-19 impacts to work, school systems and child/dependent care, leaders need to provide guidelines and guardrails for acceptable ways of working, given the culture of the company. Questions to consider:
- How can managers ensure that employees have necessary flexibility while still delivering results?
- What tools are in place to measure and respond to unmet performance targets?
- How are managers enabling high functioning teams?
- What changes in tools and processes are needed for managers to effectively lead their teams?
Wrapping it up: A sound talent management strategy is critical to success in the new ‘normal’
COVID-19 has been devasting to businesses around the country, but it has also provided leaders the opportunity to rethink how they are defining and meeting their business goals. While organizations are taking a new look at budget, organizational capabilities, capacity, structure, and ways of working, Thought Logic can help leaders evolve how they are managing and engaging their workforce. We advocate a holistic approach to talent reentry and management while considering how to size and skill talent, how to capture hearts and minds, how to define new goals, and how to manage in a new way. One thing is for sure: adaptability, flexibility, and innovation are paramount to leading in the post-pandemic world.
For more information about developing a talent management strategy for your company’s new normal, contact Maria Connor, Solution Manager at email@example.com.